I have been very stubborn in holding on to a gap wedge with the old square grooves for ages now. They’re still legal for a few years, so I figured I’d get my time out of it.
It was my favorite, a Taylor Made RAC from a few years ago and I used it for almost everything from 90 yards in. It is a 52 degree and very light weight.
I’ve heard Pelz spout off about the need for a heavy wedge and obviously, every Tour Player on earth uses heavy wedges.
Obviously I was using a customary 56 Cleveland Sand Wedge but, I live and die by the effectiveness of my Gap Wedge. Rarely, if ever do I use my sand wedge for anything but bunker shots.
I was leery of making a move, I was very used to the lightweight feel of the RAC and heaven forbid things head south from 90 yards in.
Cleveland 588 Wedges
But, I had seen that Cleveland re-introduced the 588 Model of wedges after a couple years off the market and I figured I’d go try it out.
The look was so good, I didn’t even try it, I just bought it.
I checked the Vokies and the new Nikes and the Callaways but, something really appealed to me about this Cleveland 588.
I’m not a big fan of carrying 9 wedges, like I see so many people do these days.
I see people carrying an arsenal of wedgery:
- 60 degree lob
- 58 degree mid-lob
- 56 degree sand
- 52 degree gap
- 48 degree pitching
Give me a freaking break.
The fractional slice of the population that can actually hit a 60 degree and not blade it or lay a strip of turf right over the ball, is nominal.
I Work A One Wedge System
I like to have one wedge (other than SW) that I know like the back of my hand, I have tried the arsenal thing and it’s just too complicated.
I want to share with you, this Cleveland 588 is awesome:
- Standard Bounce “2 Dot”
- 54 degrees
- Laser Milled Zip Grooves
- Satin Finish
What makes the Cleveland 588 so good?
So much has to do with confidence and the face in the 588 appears to be just a slight bit larger than the similar brands like the Vokey.
You really get the feeling that your going to make solid contact when you’re looking down at it.
While it is heavy, it isn’t super heavy. But, it’s heavy enough to get that great sound, the thwump sound on full shots.
The weight is also great on little shots out of the rough. I now know that my lightweight wedge was getting pushed around by rough.
This wedge doesn’t take any crap on these tricky little shots where I previously wondered where the hell the thing would go, or how hard I had to hit it.
The weight of a good wedge neutralizes funky lies, tufts of grass, tight, deep stuff, hard pan, Bermuda it really makes you a better player.
My RAC had the old grooves and the grooves were still in pretty good shape, because I took care of it thinking I’d never find a replacement.
This Cleveland 588 is vicious in the spin department.
The course I play regularly has a short par 5 that I have always gone for in two, now I lay up.
Why do I lay up and not just try to putt, keeping the wedge in the bag altogether?
Pretty simple, the fairway is elevated and you have a perfect view of the green, when I lay up to 90 yards, giving me a pretty full shot, that ball backs up about 4 to 6 feet!
Hey, it’s a little extra fun for the playing companions! Ok, maybe just for me but…
Speaking of fun.
I don’t know about you but, I learned long ago, to leave the flop shot for the practice area unless it was absolutely necessary.
I realized that I can actually hit flops with this wedge, even from pretty tight lies, with relative consistency.
I was playing at Legacy in Bradenton, FL a couple weeks after I started using the 588. I was playing with a pretty good player, this lawyer from CT.
He watched me hit a flop from 25 yards on a par 5 to within tap in range and when I got in the cart he goes: “like to see you do that again”.
A couple holes later I’m on the wrong side of a huge bunker, totally short sided and a landing area on the green with slope and grain running away.
He goes: “you hit this one within 10 feet, I’m buying all the beers after the round”
He bought beer.
I love this thing!
In all seriousness, if you’re looking for a great wedge, the Cleveland 588 is definitely a good choice.
The Cleveland 588 Satin Model is $159 right now but, worth every penny.
Considering a Move to a Heavier Wedge?
You’re moving from a lightweight wedge, to a heavy wedge, there are a few tips I can share that I had to figure out on my own.
A. You’re going to hit it fat, the first few times you try to hit half to full shots.
Don’t worry, here’s what you do:
First, be sure you’re not dipping your right shoulder too much. If you’re fatting it, just pay attention to that right shoulder at address.
Make a conscious effort to raise your right shoulder slightly, try to keep them as parallel to the ground as possible at set up.
B. Similar, but a separate thought, don’t rush the takeaway.
Take it back slow. You’re used to lightweight wedges and light weight irons in general, even the drivers these days weigh next to nothing.
The heavier wedge will react poorly if you are not paying very close attention to that takeaway. Take it back controlled and usually that will mean slow.
If your hands are moving away at a higher rate than the club head, your muscle memory will react on the way back through the ball, causing blades and fat shots.
Take the club head back in a very controlled motion, particularly the first 6-8 inches away from the ball.
Good luck and hit’em close!